Large and small food businesses alike received a boost Oct. 17 when UGA—in partnership with state and local officials—broke ground on the Food Technology Center located on the Griffin campus.
The facility will house the Food Product Innovation and Commercialization, or FoodPIC, Center.
“The food industry is thriving in the state of Georgia, and FoodPIC is playing a leading role in its growth and economic success,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “Upon completion, the center will support a valuable partnership between the University of Georgia, the public sector and the global food industry.”
Gov. Nathan Deal named a few of the companies the center has supported in recent years.
“Since 2007, FoodPIC has been helpful to a number of famous customers who include Chick-Fil-A, Boar’s Head, Coca-Cola and Kellogg,” he said. “They’ve all utilized the services of this facility. But even more, smaller businesses have come here to get assistance, advice and support to make their products more productive in terms of being customer-friendly and accepted at the marketplace.”
The state-of-the-art facility—which will be located at the southeast corner of the Melton Building—will house pilot plants and laboratory spaces for hot and cold temperature work; wet and dry processing; quality control laboratories; refrigerated, frozen and dry storage; a demonstration kitchen; and administrative offices.
“FoodPIC is a perfect example of how our state’s higher education system is not only educating students but providing cutting-edge research to support industry and promote economic prosperity,” said C. Thomas “Tommy” Hopkins, a member of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, whose family has lived in Griffin for generations. “This facility will be yet another example of increasing jobs and intellectual property in Georgia.”
Researchers from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and industry experts will use the new Food Technology Center to provide guidance to business owners in the areas of food product development, concept generation and evaluation, packaging, safe processing, business development, pilot plant preparation and consumer acceptance. The FoodPIC staff includes engineers, chemists, microbiologists, consumer sensory scientists and research chefs.
The facility is being constructed through leadership and funding provided by Deal, members of the General Assembly, the University System of Georgia chancellor and board of regents, the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority, the U.S. Economic Development Administration and UGA.